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The Hermitage Saga Turns Tragic As Fund Lawyer Dies In Jail

Tyler Durden's picture


The saga of Hermitage Capital, whose clip highlighting its recent plight we posted previously, has just taken a turn for the sad and surreal. The WSJ reports that 37 year old Sergei Magnitsky, Hermitage's lawyer has died in custody. As a reminder Sergei was arrested in November of 2008: "Sergei Magnitsky, a legal and accounting adviser for Moscow-based
law firm Firestone Duncan, was detained Monday [November 24th] after a raid on his home
and police issued a formal warrant for his arrest two days later, said
Bill Browder, chief executive officer of Hermitage Capital Management."

Reports the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Magnitsky, a 37-year-old partner at Moscow firm Firestone
Duncan, was jailed nearly a year ago on charges of tax evasion related
to his work for Hermitage. At a court hearing on extending his
detention in September, he complained that he had been denied medical
treatment for weeks for serious stomach pancreatic illnesses that he
hadn't suffered from before his imprisonment. He also complained of
inhumane conditions -- including the absence of toilet, hot water and
windows -- at the Butyrskaya jail where he was then being held.

"They held him for 11 months, asking him to fabricate testimony
against Hermitage," said Jamison Firestone, managing partner of
Firestone Duncan. "The more he refused, the worse his conditions

If convicted of tax fraud, Mr. Magnitsky would have faced up to six
years in prison. Russian officials have denied pressuring Mr. Magnitsky
for testimony.

Irina Dudukina, spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee of Russia's Interior Ministry said Tuesday, stated more information would be forthcoming shortly. In other news, emerging markets are, once again, all the rage. For those who can't wait to see the opportunity cost of the investment climate in Russia, here is a snapshot of the prison which was Mr. Magnitsky's final resting place.


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Tue, 11/17/2009 - 12:53 | 133283 Orly
Orly's picture

It is getting seriously thick in here, isn't it?

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 12:55 | 133287 Orly
Orly's picture

It is getting seriously thick in here, isn't it?

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:24 | 133317 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Convenient......Spares the state the cost of a trial(sic)and imprisonment

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 15:34 | 133375 Translational Lift
Translational Lift's picture

Mr. Magnitsky, a 37-year-old partner at Moscow firm Firestone Duncan.....Makes sense to me.....What's the average age of a Russian citizen now (if they don't tow the line)??

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 16:31 | 133547 Reductio ad Absurdum
Reductio ad Absurdum's picture

It's "toe the line". See Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946) (at or the Eggcorn database at

"Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer." --Orwell

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 21:35 | 133924 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

He's dead, it's a mute point!

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:33 | 133322 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

We Like emerging market ETF's !!!!!

RSA, FXP, lets buy globally- because they really know how to pump it up!

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:34 | 133324 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

its a russian mafia kind of thing, doncha know....

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:53 | 133340 the.spear
the.spear's picture

only in russia. ok probably not.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:55 | 133344 Missing_Link
Missing_Link's picture

Jesus Christ.  What a fucking mafia country.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:59 | 133352 Fish Gone Bad
Fish Gone Bad's picture

So the prison is a converted dairy farm?  Having to share a pen with a cow would be OK until milking time...

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:56 | 133422 Missing_Link
Missing_Link's picture

Depends who's doing the milking.  Have you seen some of the blondes in Moscow?

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:02 | 133358 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I wonder if we could ship to our beloved assorted crooks & characters like Lord Blankfein & Lord Dimon for some R&R or let's say Rendition with a smile. Let's see if they make them talk about where they did put the money. The money that they stole from future generations.

See boys. Wall Street douches think they are the masters of the universe. But they are squat once they are put away in some hell hole. Because the Master of the Universe will aleays be the one the biggest gun. At this moement in time & place. Money is able the gun, but is not always true. As you can see from Putin's boys.

Just like Wall Street douches will regret the day. That the US after being weakened so much by this treasonables vamoire squids will not have the biggest gun to protect Wall Street's racket & they will be bitch slapped by the guy with the guns. Just like the Australian Mining Co executives learned when they were locked up in China.

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 05:45 | 134257 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

hear hear Anonymous

ship the crooks out to a country that isnt afraid of an oligarch or two.

"where's your signature?..... sign the contract give me my pen back" Putin to Deripaska

imagine the same conversation between BO and blankenstein. oh poor, abused america

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:26 | 133382 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Why did you use a hundred years old photo Tyler ?

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:47 | 133411 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

No different from the WA N TERA

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:47 | 133412 Unscarred
Unscarred's picture


Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:48 | 133415 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

The FBI should borrow some of these Russians to investigate Blankfein a little more closely.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 16:14 | 133515 snorkeler
snorkeler's picture

Indeed, much more effective interrogation techniques (we only use ours on "enemy combatants")

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:53 | 133420 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Butyrskaya Inn the new hot address for many Wall Street Bankers....

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 14:57 | 133423 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

A glimpse of our future "Health Care" System.  Don't buy it; go to jail.  Want treatment; die like a rat.


Back in the USSR boys.  Love that song.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 15:07 | 133434 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

"corporate raid" takes on a whole new meaning in russia.

from hermitage capital:

and you see, that is why lady gaga had no choice but to torch the russian mobster for selling her in to sex slavery. it was a bad romance:




Tue, 11/17/2009 - 15:39 | 133463 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

What did you expect? We are a country of evil where the puss of the world flows in streams, and tax evaders here die in jail rather than the kinder solution that UBS had to provide under fire from US Government.
Seriously dude, what more to expect from the barbarians from the east, etc etc?

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 16:12 | 133512 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Lawyer dies in jail... Made my day.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 17:46 | 133668 snorkeler
snorkeler's picture

1,500 lawyers die from poisoning at an ABA convention.  Makes my month. 

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 18:15 | 133704 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Why is Browder's fund being subjected to this treatment?

I'm skeptical that there isn't more to this story that we are not hearing.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 22:25 | 133983 ChickenTeriyakiBoy
ChickenTeriyakiBoy's picture

this is not even funny. what a fucked up country. seriously. whatever sleazy shit this guy might have done pales in comparison to the misery he must have endured in this mini-gulag


spare the lawyer jokes. this is disgusting. i wont sleep tonight imagining some of the shit this dude went through

Wed, 11/18/2009 - 05:54 | 134261 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture


have you not heard of rendition? a practice of deporting suspected terrorists to countries where torture is legal or acceptable. its practiced by the US govt, signed into law under Reagan and greatly extended by the Patriotic Act (sic)

i suggest that during your sleepless night you write to your local politicians asking for their position on this matter rather than bathing yourself in self serving pity.

follow your fav rendition flights here

Sat, 11/21/2009 - 12:33 | 138191 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

This story, the way it is presented, does not make any sense.
Was Magnitsky the main target of this investigation? - No, Browder was. Did the investigators want Magnitsky dead? - No, they wanted him convicted in order to try and get Browder extradited to Russia. Now they will never be able to convict Magnitsky, and, furthermore, Browder's extradition has become virtually impossible, because Russian prisons yet another time proved to be too dangerous.
It seems as the one who benefited most from the poor guy's death is Browder.

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